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Medication Hazards & Solutions

Medication Hazards & Solutions

The ECRI Institute’s Health Devices Group releases a report annually that details healthcare-related technology hazards that they feel warrant the most attention for the forthcoming year. In the Top 10 Health Technology Hazards for 2017* listing there are a number of issues that are of concern for AMS’ client base, but here we will focus on a problem that was alluded to in the eighth part of the ECRI list: medication mishaps.

The full title of #8 on the ECRI Top 10 list of hazards reads: Automated Dispensing Cabinet Setup and Use Errors May Cause Medication Mishaps. This section of the ECRI report, like the others, is deliberately narrow, focusing on a specific technology and its inadequacies. However, the shortcomings have broader implications. While many people may not even know what an automated dispensing cabinet even is, they surely recognize the overarching problem of medication errors.

There is a myriad of blunders that can occur with regard to medications, some of them expressly outlined in this section of the ECRI report. They include:

  • Mistaking similar-sounding names or similar-looking packaging
    • Ephedrine/epinephrine
    • Phenobarbital/dronabinol
    • Oxycodone XL/oxycodone IR
  • Meting out the wrong concentration (dose) of the correct medication
  • Not examining drug expiration dates
  • Inappropriate prescribing of non-FDA approved drugs
  • Unsafe drug combinations

ECRI not only lists these faults but also details how to prevent them, as that is the report’s raison d’être. Obviously, this is of great help making medical professionals more aware that even technology intended to help patients can have unforeseen drawbacks and limits. Similarly, though healthcare practitioners do their jobs as appropriately, accurately and efficiently as possible, mistakes are made.

It is recognizing those pharmaceutical gaffes and correcting them that is of the greatest concern to AMS and our clients. Having accurate FDA approval dates and correct dosages for drugs is imperative. PredictRx is a superb reference tool to have at one’s disposal for preventing and correcting many of these medical errors. With regard to appropriateness of care and treatment options, PredictDx has the vetted data and analytics necessary to avoid (and rectify) issues pertaining to drug diagnoses.

Carriers, TPAs, MGUs, WCs, health plans, and reinsurers need to address the correctness of every claim to make sure missteps like the ones listed above are not being made. It is a complex task. And in addition to those medication mishaps there are other components to be looked into. When breaking down the components of a catastrophic claim they include: certainty of length of stay, level of care billed, inflated or unbundled charges, billing errors, adjudication options, and even consideration of payor politics. All of these require the highest level of scrutiny.

AMS and its Predict Suite of services expertly identifies inaccuracies made through oversight or otherwise, providing actionable information that ultimately leads to savings, in terms of both time and money.

*The full Top 10 Health Technology Hazards for 2017 report can be found on the AMS website here.

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Brought to you by Jason Marcewicz, Special Projects Manager

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